Confessing my less than godly motives for this action

I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. (1 Chronicles 29:17)

After giving his considerable “personal treasures of gold and silver,” for the building of the temple, David took the time to examine his heart to see if he had given that treasure with God-honoring intent (see 1 Chronicles 29:3-17). Why? I think because David understood how easy it is to do godly things with a mix of godly and ungodly motives.

I experienced this first hand just a few months ago. I had just made a decision within my business that triggered a significant financial sacrifice. But I was convicted through prayer that it was the right thing to do.

Implementing this decision required that I notify some fellow believers. And as I did, these friends consistently commented on how “proud” they were of me for taking this action.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was quietly anticipating this praise. While my motives for making this financial sacrifice were mostly pure, there was a part of me that was secretly hoping my friends would commend my decision.

My confession here and David’s words in today’s passage point to an important truth: It is so easy to take God-honoring actions at work with less than God-honoring motives—to do the right things for the wrong reasons. 

What are we to do with that truth? Let me suggest three responses.

First, confess your sinful motives to God and others. Maybe you’re in a season of working “with all your heart” as Colossians 3:23 commands, but if you’re honest, you’re not really doing so “for the Lord.” You are grinding away “for the love of money” (see 1 Timothy 6:10). If that’s you, confess that less than God-honoring motive to God and your Christian community.

Second, be amazed at the grace God has shown you which is big enough to cover not just the “bad things” you do, but even the “good things” you do for the wrong reasons.

Finally, don’t wait for a pure motive before you obey God’s commands. There had to have been some part of David that was motivated by the praise of others to give his treasure. But that didn’t keep him from obeying God’s commands.

So it should be with us. God is calling you to take some action at work this week. Are your motives pure? No. But if you’re confessing those less than righteous motives and the balance of your heart is to honor God, take action. If you’re waiting for perfectly pure “honest intent,” you’re going to be waiting forever.


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